What happens when you average 36.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.0 blocks on 65.9 percent shooting through the first four games of the NBA season?
You become the odds-on favorite to win the league’s MVP award.
From SportsInsights Marky Mark:
Antetokounmpo has moved from +1000 to +250 in this short stretch—close to a 20% spike in implied probability. The real question is: How long can he keep this up? Some people believe he has a chance to put up over 30 a game and average a triple double. I think he’s going to have a great year, but personally, I think that the value is already gone at +250.
For reference, here’s how the top-12 MVP candidates so far shake out in the odds department:
- Giannis Antetokounmpo: +250
- LeBron James: +500
- Kawhi Leonard: +600
- Kevin Durant: +800
- Russell Westbrook: +1000
- James Harden: +1000
- Stephen Curry: +1200
- Kyrie Irving: +1200
- Anthony Davis: +2500
- Joel Embiid: +2500
- Karl-Anthony Towns: +2500
- Kristaps Porzingis: +2500
Slotting Antetokounmpo ahead of LeBron is no doubt controversial. The MVP award usually goes to the best player on one of the league’s three or four best teams. Antetokounmpo is, it seems, a top-five player overall, but the Milwaukee Bucks won’t have the clout in the standings that’s supposed to be incumbent of MVP winners.
And yet, that may not matter.
Russell Westbrook took home the honor last year while playing for a 47-win Oklahoma City Thunder squad that never registered as a serious title threat. Antetokounmpo has the talent to do the same. He won’t be averaging a triple-double, but he looks to be next in line for the NBA’s best-player crown, whenever LeBron decides to relinquish it.
So while it may be premature to ordain him a more likely winner than James himself at this point, the Bucks seem to be one 44-, 45-win season away from guaranteeing Antetokounmpo finishes no lower than second on the final MVP ballot.